Kate Middleton and Prince William’s royal Christmas concert looks set to ditch the BBC as an argument over a new documentary intensifies.
The Duchess of Cambridge is hosting a performance at Westminster Abbey in December, which will be recorded by BBC studios.
However, the Beeb looks set to lose the rights to screen the program after rival broadcasters ITV were brought into negotiations at a late stage on Friday, November 19.
The decision to approach ITV came just two days before U.K. tabloid The Mail on Sunday ran a front page based on anonymous sources suggesting the palace would boycott the BBC.
News of the move to stop the BBC screening the carols first appeared on the front page of U.K. tabloid The Sun but was confirmed by ITV’s own royal editor, Chris Ship.
He posted on Twitter: “So, I understand ITV is still in final negotiations to host the royal carol concert show from @wabbey (as first revealed in the Sun today by @MattSunRoyal).
“The show is being made by @bbcstudios for @ITV. Sources at the broadcaster say they only became aware of it late last week.”
The dispute between the palace and the BBC centered on a two-part series The Princes and the Palace, which charts the relationship between the brothers and the media.
Meghan Markle’s lawyer Jenny Afia, of Schillings, appeared in the first episode, broadcast on November 22, to deny that the duchess was a difficult boss.
Omid Scobie, author of biography Finding Freedom, also told presenter Amol Rajan: “There’s been rumor for quite some time that a lot of the most damaging and negative stories about Harry and Meghan that have ended up in the pages of the press have come from other royal households or from other royal aides or courtiers and from my own reporting and research that is exactly true.”
The royals appeared to abandon their famous “never explain, never complain” policy in a rare joint statement by Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace and Clarence House.
The on-the-record comment read: “A free, responsible and open Press is of vital importance to a healthy democracy.
“However, too often overblown and unfounded claims from unnamed sources are presented as facts and it is disappointing when anyone, including the BBC, gives them credibility.”
The second and final part of the documentary is due to be broadcast next week and a trailer indicated it will touch on allegations Meghan bullied her staff.
The advert depicted Afia being asked whether the accusations were true and replying: “Absolutely not.”
The BBC said in a statement quoted on its website that the program is “about how royal journalism is done and features a range of journalists from broadcast and the newspaper industry.”
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